Mopti - A Brief Change in Place

By last Thursday, the restless routine of 2 ½ weeks working in the desert was starting to take its toll on me. Here there are not rainy days to give a photographer a chance to sleep on it, I had been getting up everyday at 4:30a.m. to chase the light. When the opportunity came on Friday to go with one of our trucks to Mopti for service, I decided to step away for a night and gain some perspective. I realized I have been working with a rather limited concept of Mali as a country. I had gone directly from the USA to Inadjatafane, from civilization to Sahel. Mopti is considered Mali's most colorful port town. It sits on the Bani River at its confluence with the Niger, between Bamako and Timbouctu. The drive from Banzena took 5 hours. In tourist season, Mopti is well visited by westerners and has a couple of nice hotels. I treated myself to air-conditioning, a swim in a pool, and a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Now I am back in the bush, and contrary to my initial suspicions, partaking in the accoutrements of civilization has not ruined my conditioning to the desert environment. In fact I should have had more ice cream (or anything else cold) while I had the chance. Friday evening I hired a pinasse to explore the rivers and photograph life along the banks. It was quite nice and I would like to spend more time working there someday. Saturday I went walking along the river pre-dawn and made more pictures of the cool blue vein bringing life to the desert. While I was away, my camera trap had some promising hits, which will hopefully turn out to be elephants and not goats or donkeys.View new photography at www.carltonward.com